Friday, 29 January 2016

How I Became A Gym Mouse...

If you didn't see my video already or my Instagram posts as of lately- I have joined up for a local gym.
It's called "Fitness 24/7" and I first heard of it in Sweden when visiting friends last summer.
I brushed it off as "I'm not a gym person" because I'm really not.  (Or I wasn't...)
There are several reasons why I'm not a gym person:
  • I have commitment issues. I don't know if I'll be in Finland next year -so any kind of yearly-contract membership was a no go.
    • I really do have commitment issues and I didn't know when I would have time to go to the gym with my school schedule and picking up/dropping off the kids.
    • And even if I found time (which I have) - I still don't know if I could commit to going!
  • Budgeting. Trying to save money-remember?
  • Self conscious of my increasing muffin top and the fact that I'm in cooking school does not help. 
  • I love food and am a stress eater. The greasier the better. 
  • I hate sweat- the stench of it or my body sweating.  Sounds funny but I've probably been traumatized by that high school hockey player boyfriend who hugged me after every game-and I just wanted to puke. 
Anyway, a classmate suggested I sign up for Fitness 24/7, as it is a central location, reasonable price, no yearly contract (just 2 months notice prior to ending your membership), group classes were included and she goes there.
So I signed up last week and have to say I'm impressed with the layout and more importantly the security built into my membership card. It has my photo in the card which flashes on their screen (I'm guessing when the card is used), my finger print is required for entering the building and I need my card to get in the changing room.

The first day, I didn't have my headphones with me and just went with the flow.
My goal was to try and do a little bit of this and that with the machines. I hurt like hell the next day but only in my shoulders and chest. Considering I haven't been to a gym in almost 11 years- not bad.
I also credit carrying a heavy backpack regularly to me being able to do anything in the gym. 

I went on the treadmill with mixed jogging and walking-with the hopes I would not have an asthma attack during my exercise. 
(It's also super annoying when you're on the treadmill and the tv program is showing "Italian week at Lidl" and a variety of pasta, tiramisu and other tasty delights...then a cooking show with beef, potatoes and roasted carrots...)

So I did the same on day two and three-I would spend about 1 hour and a half there-happily.
I seriously never thought I would say that but my head feels so nice and empty-it's amazing.
I am guessing that is the feeling when you're "in the zone" - you're focused on your work out and not thinking about anything else!
I honestly haven't felt like that since I was a teenager!  Just honestly, having a completely empty head free of stress and worries about:

  • School - learning it in Finnish and having a classmate that has been incredibly difficult to work with...
  • Supper and what to cook and what to buy at the grocery store and when with this school schedule...
  • Kids - who I need to spend time with more lately because they haven't had 1-on-1 hang out time and what we can do that isn't costly and doesn't involve Netflix.
  • Hubster - am I giving him enough time to do his work (apparently not as he's exhausted running around to two day-cares 3 days a week now so I can be in evening class) and when was the last time we actually had a conversation this week?
  • Cleaning/laundry/how many cleaning supplies do we need this week? - turns out my dishwasher is busted - the spray doesn't work quite randomly.
  • The dogs - have I spent enough time with them too?
  • Friends and family - when was the last time I chatted with my girlfriends in Canada?  Hmm - better remember to Whatsapp them today.
The list goes on - but all of this rotates and spins around in my head usually and it's exhausting thinking of all these various things and trying to get it all done.  
Anyway, the feeling of having a clear mind has really been amazing and I might not do hardcore work outs but I do try to push myself a bit more everyday and get myself up to hardcore work outs where I might actually break into a sweat...some day.
(I never understood why in movies women are always drenched in sweat when they're in labour because I seriously didn't do that - not because "I didn't want to because I hate sweat" but because I just didn't!)

I find I am also more motivated to go to the gym to do yoga (nothing fancy or complicated) as part of my post-work out stretching and put aside about 20 minutes time to do so.
I try to listen to slow music and sappy stuff so I move with the music as well.
I started out with positions like "The Warrior" and whatever I could remember from my days of being a dedicated "Wii Fit" user (until we moved and lost a cord and still don't know which cord needs to be replaced - it's only been over 3 years) - then I used my phone to find some basic yoga positions on Pinterest (so I didn't have to watch videos) and went for that!
I also like that the gym here (maybe it's all of them in Finland) doesn't seem to have any strict rules about using your phone in the gym.  I suppose it's common sense to not take photos of strangers (in-appropriate ones or not) and so many people use their phones for tracking their fitness and for music - it'd be harder now to say "no phones in the gym".

Yesterday I laid on my side straight and lifted one leg up in the air and slowly put it down (like scissors) and repeated that a few times and switched to the other side and I just hoped that I didn't cut one with a guy behind me doing his stretches! :P
I'm sure I wouldn't be the only one to fart in the gym - my friend is a PT (personal trainer) and she's shared some stories of stenches going on the gym that were simply not from sweat.

I don't do yoga at home (especially when the kids are awake) because the dogs are constantly in my face and last night mid-pose my husband asked me "Why are you doing that now?" which totally killed my mood and I got rather snappy with him for interrupting my attempt at having a stretch to help me be a bit more tired so I could sleep!

Well, I find I'm more energetic, feel refreshed and my patience with my children is increasing as I try to just ignore their wails and whining (unless serious) and not take it all so seriously and focus on my next work out - or refer back to the list above of things to think about! :)

I have found I am more conscious of what I'm eating in terms of treats and portion sizes and have tried to do half a plate of salad or just 1 potato if there's no salad available at lunch time.  I don't even crave any of my regular junk food anymore (i.e. Burger King, McDonald's etc) because I have another way to have "me time" alone downtown.  I can go to the gym and have a healthy bagel sandwich and a cup of tea (healthier than deep fried goodies) at the nearest cafe instead!

It's so weird and yet so exciting!  I've noticed some changes already - my attitude, my desire to stress eat is cutting down, I'm not munching on snacks for no reason anymore and I just feel happier.  Also my ability to concentrate and focus has also greatly increased - which is a massive need when studying!  And I no longer feel like taking a nap mid-day - usually because I'm too busy to do so anyway with class! :)
Of course the ultimate goal is to shed the muffin top, decrease the extra love handles I've developed over the years and feel fitter, more energetic and sexier even (since I'm being honest here)!

Your gym rat in training (current status: gym mouse),

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